Ibis Hotel: We’ll Email You More Than Your Mother

IbisLast week I wrote about my experiences in Seoul, which were pleasant and restful and adventurous. I didn’t talk so much at all about our hotel, in part because we didn’t spend a lot of time in it, and partly because it really wasn’t worth our notice. Now, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth so to speak–we didn’t have to pay for the hotel, and I’m thankful to our boss for finding us relatively clean and satisfying accommodations. In short, it was a place to sleep which we didn’t have to pay for; I didn’t give it much thought beyond that.

But a little over a week ago I was made to recall my stay again. They sent me an email asking me to complete their survey regarding my experience in their hotel:

Dear N–,

We appreciated having you as our guest recently at Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong,
where you checked out on April 3, 2014.Your feedback and suggestions regarding your stay would be very valuable to us.

We invite you to complete the short survey on our guest satisfaction web site.

Please click on the link below, and your web browser will automatically take you to our survey web site and identify you…

These sort of feedback surveys are common these days and so it wasn’t exactly surprising to get one from the hotel. But I am a busy woman–the school year has just started and as coordinator of the elementary program it’s my job to see to it that all the new teachers know what they are doing, are comfortable with the school and their classes, that all the materials are made and textbooks arranged, that everybody knows where to go at what time and so on. In addition, I’m still writing and reading daily for the A to Z blog challenge this month, as well as keeping up with personal reading and writing. What I’m getting at is, I acknowledged the existence of the survey and put it from my mind until I had enough breathing room to consider whether or not it was worth my time to respond.

And then I got this email,

Thank you for choosing ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong for your recent stay in Seoul.

We’d be grateful if you would review us on TripAdvisor. It’s the world’s largest travel site, helping millions of visitors every month plan the perfect trip.

Our guests often tell us how helpful it is to read past guests’ reviews before booking their own visits. And we’re always eager to hear what you liked and how we can improve.

Thanks again, and we hope you’ll choose ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong the next time you’re in Seoul.

Which put me in a little bit of a sour mood. How many surveys and reviews am I going to be asked to take? You’re a hotel, congratulations. Would you like a pat on the back for being a hotel? Anyway, I still hadn’t formed any sort of opinion on Ibis one way or another. I was too busy to think about it, or to care all that much.

But then, four days ago I got this:

Dear N–,

Recently, we sent you an invitation to complete a Guest Satisfaction Survey concerning your stay with us at Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong,  where you checked out on April 3, 2014.

We noticed that you did not have time to complete the survey. We are concerned that you may not have responded because we have somehow failed to live up to your expectations.

At Accor Hotels, we are committed to providing a superior guest experience to each and every one of our customers. Please take a few minutes to tell us how well we met your expectations.

To complete the survey, please click on the web address below. If that does not work, please copy and paste the entire web address into the address field of your browser.

[The linky was here]

Thank you again for choosing Accor Hotels, and I look forward to hearing about your stay with us.

Sincerely,

P–

At this point I got angry. I made note a little while ago on another blog about this particular passive aggressive trait that I encounter which suggests that because one refuses a service it must be because the service is disliked. The suggestion from Accor that I didn’t drop everything to take a ten minute survey praising them for being a hotel was somehow because I hadn’t enjoyed my stay was too rankling to ignore.

So I took the survey.

I wish I’d had the foresight to note down the questions as I went through them, but true to avoir l’esprit de l’escalier, I didn’t actually think of writing this post until a day had passed after sending it, and I’m unable to return to the survey now. It occurred to me, though that multiple choice questions simply couldn’t capture my whole feelings about my stay at Ibis. Since they are obviously very, very, intrusively interested in what I thought about them, I thought I might elaborate a little bit on some of my answers.

Ibis pillow

Alex, in the only photo we took of our hotel room.

Dear P–;

Recently you asked me to complete a survey on my stay at Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong. Let me start first by saying how much I appreciate the level of respect and weight you put on my opinion. It is every writer’s dream to have an audience which hangs on her every thought. I found however, that your multiple choice questions were somewhat leading, and tended to lean away from an answer that would express explicit dissatisfaction. I therefore found it necessary to elaborate on some of the points you wished me to opine on:

With regard to the service

I was delighted to find that the Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong hotel has multilingual staff who expressed momentary flashes of exasperation at the approach of guests to their counters. At our check-in we were offered a discounted rate on the breakfast buffet and subsequently weren’t informed that reservations needed to be made 24 hours prior to arrange the discounted breakfast for future mornings. We were also handed a very useful card with the hotel address, phone number and a map to show to taxi drivers should we need one to return to the hotel. I might note here that it seems the information on your card is out of date, as our befuddled taxi driver attempted twice to call the number provided and received no answer. The hotel lobby is also very nicely equipped with a video screen which informs guests that shuttle buses are available to take them to the major sights of the city. When we inquired about this service, we were affirmed that yes, it existed, and reservations were needed. As no further information as to where or with whom reservations could be made was supplied to us, we assumed that the buses were booked for the day, and made alternative arrangements.

With regard to the exterior of the hotel

The Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong shares the same location as what I assume is a very high profile bank, as the latter occupies the entirety of the street facing side of the building. We noted a small directory which indicated the hotel was on this block, but it was because of our misunderstanding that we could not for ten minutes find the entrance of the hotel which was located in the adjacent alley.

With regard to the cleanliness of the room

The room was very neat and tidy, with crisp clean white sheets and spotless drapes which called stark attention to the floor which has been in want of a carpet cleaning for many years. I also appreciated the hair remaining in the bathroom which proudly stated that previous guests had used and enjoyed the facilities.

With regard to the amenities

Our room came with many lovely features to make our stay more comfortable. These included a refrigerator which could store a single can of soda each for Alex and I at maximum capacity, a decorative thermostat, a very, very frisky bidet, and a singular and hitherto unheard of bottle of miracle soap in the shower which could wash the body and hair with equal efficiency. The lone bar of hand soap by the sink also stood to laud that this was indeed a four star hotel.

With regard to the bar

There was a bar?

With regard to the breakfast buffet

For a price of 22,000₩ ($22) I was very pleased to have not gotten sick from the breakfast buffet. This was a real relief for me as I have a delicate stomach which does not care for deviation from my usual diet. I give credit for this to the short variety of offerings which didn’t tempt me toward gastronomical adventure, and the relative blandness of watery eggs, plain yogurt, and cereal. We also appreciated the attention you give to the esophageal safety of your guests by offering only room temperature milk with which to mix chocolate for a morning cocoa.

With regard to value

As mentioned above, neither Alex nor myself paid a single won for our stay at Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong, and we consider that we got our money’s worth for the experience.

I hope this satisfies for a thorough review of our stay at Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong-dong. If you’d like to send a voucher for a stay in another of your hotels, I’d be pleased to leave another review, however, I kindly request that you send me no more emails regarding this stay. If you do, I will conclude that you and I are very close friends, at which point I will be pleased to send you the draft of my erotica novella for your beta read and review.

Sincerely,

N–

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21 thoughts on “Ibis Hotel: We’ll Email You More Than Your Mother

    • Yeah, it was a little off-putting, but I was completely willing to simply not think about it–again because we didn’t have to pay for the hotel, but the constant emails (I received two more after I took the survey) were really, really irritating.

  1. I’ve gotten a couple of emails since getting back from our vacation (Expedia and TripAdvisor) but the absolutely worst surveys were from Thrivent Financial where I had rolled over my IRA. Every couple months I would get daily calls until I finally would answer and agree to take the survey. Any question I didn’t rank my advisor at the top they would force me to clarify and explain what K needed to do so I would rank him at the top level. Every statement, even online, would have a picture of him with a statement that 98%of K’s clients rank the services he provides as excellent.

  2. Wow… I think my response would have been much (much) meaner than yours after the third request. Your response is perfect though. I love how politely sarcastic it is.

    I think the most interesting thing is how their requests are phrased – especially the last one. It’s more of a demand than anything else. There’s a sense of entitlement to how it’s phrased, like their customers owe them a review.

    -V

    • Right? I mean, they’ve already been paid, if I want to leave a comment as to the excellence or deficiency of the service, one email is enough. I shouldn’t have to be hounded to tell someone that their hotel is mediocre. Entitled indeed!

      The funny thing is, after I took the survey they sent me ANOTHER email, saying how happy they were to hear my kind comments, which leads me to suspect one of the following:

      a) All these emails are automated or;
      b) They get a whole lot of crappy reviews.

  3. Oh wow….chuckling here….bless you for putting up with that!! 🙂 and taking time to share it.
    I have stayed at a ibis hotel once, in Paris….it was a huge but simple place to sleep. Thankfully that was 1996 before email surveys were the norm!!

  4. Especially when saying “We noticed you didn’t have enough time to…” Well, yes, actually. I didn’t have enough time. Stop sending me emails. 😛

  5. Pingback: Eating Busan | Diary of an Aspiring Writer

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